Day 16 (On Writing & Editing)


Authors Note: I am deep into my September challenge, with only six days to go. The challenge was to write one thousand words a day, for the whole month. So far it has been a raging success! Here’s his Day 16.

I woke up to the sound of running water and my wife screaming out my name. Water has been popping up a lot lately. It’s a big part of the September novel, so are dreams. That’s what it felt like when my wife woke me up this morning, a dream. The hot handle of the shower had somehow come off, a torrent of water coming out of the wall, like the rock Moses split. She tried to stop it with a towel, which only accomplished dumping the water into the basement.

It took all our clean linens to sop the water up. They were freshly washed and folded, still holding the delicious smell of clean laundry. The water filled the basement room’s floor half an inch. We had been trying to dry out this room, and seal up the concrete wall for a month.

There’s a lot of moments as an adult that make me feel like I am on the deck of the Starship Enterprise, or something. Hyper real moments, where my Fate hangs in the balance. Sometimes it is little moments like trying to cross the street with both children and an arm full of groceries. Or when you are trying to lay down new floors so the house can be lived in. Or when the central air unit goes out, and you realize you are facing 100plus and humidity, with a houseful of nordic folk, and there is no money for a new system. Or watching you wife give birth to your children. Or when your handle pops off for no reason and dumps gallons of water in the basement.

All due respect to the Captain, but they got trained professionals at their bidding. You and I, we got the yellow pages and mountains of debt. And I don’t know what it is about some of these positions like electricians and car repair folk, but it always seems overpriced, and mystical, and it is hard to get the job done right.

Same time if you’re blessed with handy friends or family, you will discover the issue just required a little time and know how, and then you are even more disconcerted when the next problem arises, because now you know that most problems can be fixed, by real adults, but you still don’t quite have it. So you’re back on the bridge and all hell is breaking loose and you got to figure it out.

As a writer these mundane things are doubly troublesome. First because our positions are so strange you can’t help but compare it to this new necessary skill which you so need. One plumber told us 85 an hour. The absurdity I raged. My college educated, debt ridden Wife makes something like 25 dollars an hour and she takes care of dying people!

Can you imagine that? This person whose Grandmother may be under the care of my wife, pays less for her care, then I will have to pay him to reassemble my shower knob? How is this possible? There I sit broken, crazy artist, banging away each day trying to assemble some great work of Fiction, so that I can go peddle it to whoever will humor me, for .99$ a pop, and this guy screwing on a handle works at 85 an hour. The absurdity! Even more absurd reality when your facing the hard reality of broken plumbing.

All this to say it polluted the writing well this evening. It seemed the height of absurdity to go spout off a thousand words, when my own connection to life giving water is so fragile.

How can one write when one is starving? How could you writer with tanks rolling down your streets? How could you write with leaky residential plumbing? It wasn’t a leak though. Let’s be serious. It was a full on gusher, but all it required was for me to race down stairs, climb over some inconveniently placed junk, and then I turned off the water to the house. I cleaned up, contacted my Elders and debated the moves with my disheveled and wet, Britney.

Communication was difficult, considering the circumstances. Real life scenarios require extra courage. Ultimately, number one was set into work, and I was left make Executive decisions on the Water issue. The Elder’s words came in sporadically at first. Mother Elder called surreptitiously canceling her prescheduled visit. As to be expected, crisis created hot spots for parallel conflagration. Thankfully I have been training in parental Judo as of late, so progress and understanding was achieved with Mother Elder. She emphasized appeal to Father Elder.

Father Elder in this case was Mother Elder Husband #2. He is a true Master Craftsman. Fate had relieved me of all danger. Father Elder was out and about in my neck of the woods, and believed he could be of assistance. He was.

He identified how to fix the problem in under five minutes, offered to retrieve the one small necessary washer, promised his return later in the day to fix. Showed up later, five minutes more, problem solved. Father Elder is the man.

I want to be the man like that. There are tons of skills out there successful people need to have. From what I have seen each work attracts a different personality. The physical worker would consider sitting in a chair for four hours reading and writing a strange torture, and most writers would probably melt if they were forced to roof a house.

I’m definitely melting along with the rest of my Craftsmen, but I really admire and want to be handy. I also enjoy the physicality of man work. My problem is I just don’t have enough technical knowledge to be effective. I have a couple good avenues to explore these interests, but I am also so busy with being a Dad and sometime writer that its sort of impossible. So I ride the waves of Fate.

We try to save extra money for these types of things, and we could have bit the bullet and probably paid someone over a hundred dollars to come do what Father elder did in ten minutes. And if Fates had been different that could have very well been the case. I was a boy scout for a little while growing up. I think thats where I first thought about ideas like preparedness. I believe that Artists need to be concerned with survival first just like everybody else. I currently because of my circumstances am able to pursue writing as a hobby. But I also have to recognize that I need to have security for my family at large.

I have really been thinking about this all in connection to my writing. If it something I want to approach seriously I need to turn it into something that can make me money. I have been writing for sometime and have some material I could bring to a finish state. I am coming to realize self publishing my stuff is my answer. The success of that endeavor depends on my own ability to master my craft. 


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